The Collector (1965)

We’ve all fantasised what we would do if we won the lottery – houses, cars, holidays, a working replica of the Batmobile .. But who ever really gets to live them out?

No one I know that’s for damn sure.

Based on the book of the same name, Freddie Clegg is a socially inept bank clerk who has two hobbies; collecting butterflies and stalking Miranda Grey. They’ve never met, but he follows her everywhere and is privy to every detail of her life, while she goes about her business blissfully unaware of the intensely creepy dude who would kill for a job as her shadow. Literally.

One day Freddie wins a very large some of money and realises he can do all the things he’s ever wanted to do, which is hella bad news for Miranda, because all he wants to do is buy a big isolated house in the country so he can kidnap her and keep her in the cellar.

Talk about thinking big, huh.

Comparisons with Hitchcock are, for once, understandable and definitely warranted, but as the director of this film is none other than William Wyler (director of Ben Hur, Roman Holiday and much less impressively Funny Girl), you shouldn’t have expected anything less. Terrance Stamp is absolutely incredible as the young, intense kidnapper, and the subtle way that the film builds in intensity makes The Collector one of the best Horror/Thrillers I have ever seen. The plot, may seem a little tired and predictable after many years of similar films being churned out, but it has a charm and suspense to it that very few have been able to replicate, and by the end of the film I found myself actually caring about both of the characters, rather than willing the whining victim to be murdered already (and hey, there’s no higher praise from me for a movie than that).

One of the tag lines read ‘Almost a love story ..’ and it is, in a way, a beautiful love story. Extremely one sided, but a love story all the same. For a lot of the film I found myself sympathising with the character of Freddie (a troubled young man who’d spent most of his life poor, overlooked and lonely), but his frustration in the scene where he and Miranda discuss The Catcher in the Rye, gives you a glimpse into exactly how many lumps of crazy he likes in his coffee.

‘There’d be blooming a lot more of this if people had the time and the money …’

Um, I don’t know Freddie, the kidnapping thing seems like such a hassle .. I think I’d just settle for a holiday and the Batmobile.

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